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While the pandemic has taken a toll on my last year of college, not all of the changes have been negative.
Due to the restrictions of Zoom, the Psychology Department allowed students to work remotely as peer mentors, researchers, and Teaching Assistants (TAs). All of these positions are offered virtually. Even being a Florida resident, this worked out seamlessly. For Fall 2020, I took on the position of TA for Cross-Cultural Psychology; this spring, I’m the TA for Sensation and Perception.
Before this academic school year, the Psychology Department only asked for TAs for labs for the most part. But this year, they decided to open up options for elective courses. Being a TA for Cross-Cultural Psychology unearthed my love for teaching. The opportunities granted by Dr. Moore pushed me to take a leap and ask for a lead instructor position for the tutoring program I work for.
Now, I am the lead instructor for an afterschool program at a middle school in my community. I lead a class designed for 6th to 8th grades, and we work on lessons and activities created to increase their emotional development. While my career choices have not shifted to being a teacher, I do value the position so much that I know I want to work with children. With that being said, I plan to apply for a dual major in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling to be well-rounded to work with children within the school systems.
Working alongside Dr. Moore as her Teaching Assistant has been a wonderful experience. She allowed me space to speak up and lead. I was even granted the opportunity to create a lesson on Mental Health. She made me feel like we were collaborators for the course materials and always welcomed my input.
At the end of the course, Dr. Moore went out of her way to forward any evaluations that spoke positively about me. I keep that email starred and refer back to them as I fill out my applications for grad school. The messages remind me that I am capable of holding space as a future mental health professional.